I'm really on the home lap now. Last night I completed all the tack, manes, tails, hooves, eyes, white areas and coat highlights. The French were in the habit of using black leather work for their tack so painting French horses uses one less base colour.
As I paint I like to try out ideas occasionally. One idea I have started to adopt is highlighting the horse after the oils have dried. I quite like the look of block painted horses you see illustrated, in the way the detail of the musculature is accentuated. The use of artists oils achieves a much more subtle version of that technique. I have found that by applying a watered down top coat of the original base coat I can raise the detail of the horse, without losing the subtlety originally achieved.
So onwards and upwards - I will add to these first three shots before I post to show where I got to on day 6.
A big thanks for the comments guys. I've really enjoyed the feel of having a conversation as I paint. It has given me a great opportunity to think more deeply about the process.
So the horses were finished off with highlights added to the black and white work. The metal work, bridles and buckles have been added and light hooves for the trumpeters white done, allowing me to bring the horses and riders together.
I look to marry up riders and horses before painting begins. The last thing you need is to struggle pushing a rider on to a horse only to find that in the process of wriggling and nudging the rider in place you've gone and damaged the paintwork on the horse. I know, I've done it and to quote my school teacher "it's not big and it's not clever", and "it's only your own time you're wasting!"
Off course to make sure the right rider goes with the right horse I arrange everyone in the same order on the paint desk and put them back in the same place as I paint. Simple but effective.
So I can now leave these guys to stick and go and get the bases ready. I have prepared laser cut mdf bases arranged for "Napoleon at War" rules but that work equally well for what I think are becoming my preferred option "Carnage and Glory". I have had these cut by the lovely people at Warbases and I like to apply magnetic tape to the bottoms, which I get from the equally lovely people at Magnetic Displays, so I can transport my models safely in their metal tool case.
In addition I will varnish the models whilst still on the painting wood and hope to get them on the bases this afternoon ready for the groundwork to commence.
"Et Voila" one regiment of French dragoons ready for groundwork and parade shots